Saturday, January 5, 2013

A holiday well spent

Here's something I've worked on during the holiday titled "Tiny Companion". My friends and I wanted to do some sculpting together to practice anatomy. I originally intended it to look like and actual sculpture. Hence, the lack of textures.

I'm just going to dive in and explain how I went about creating this. Started out in Maya for the base mesh. It didn't take me long since I already have a human base I created from one of my previous assignments. Deleted it from the hips down and blocked out the horse bit. Here's how initial blocking turned out.

ugly is what it looks like! :P

 After that I exported it to Zbrush and adjusted the proportions.Mostly used the move and inflat brush. Since I didn't have any sketches I looked at photo references to block out the proportions.

Earlier on I just referred to a lot of images on the Internetz (actual photos and 3D references)  and books to block out the muscles. At first I wanted it to have a hero type physique in a dynamic pose.

so much abs!

made him more muscular
At this point I felt like I needed a break from sculpting since I've been staring at it for too long and it wasn't really going anywhere. Its always good to spend sometime doing something non cg related so that when you come back its easier to spot mistakes. There were many of course but I like how his face looked.  The problem now was that it wasn't matching well with the body. I played around with different proportions and smoothed out some of the parts that I felt like it wasn't working. Never feel reluctant to just erase away something that isn't working just because you've spent too much time on it. Starting over is good and remember that layers can do you wonders.

Most of the sculpting after I posed it was done with symmetry turned off. 

Now I was getting somewhere. I've never sculpted a chubby guy before and had no clue how to sculpt realistic looking muscles that look like they have proper weight. Took me a long time to figure it out, especially those man boobs. You should never take man boobs lightly.

Remember when I said I wanted a heroic guy in a dynamic pose? Well after making him chubby and a little old looking I decided that wouldn't work anymore. I was thinking that if things looked subtle he'll be more convincing as a character.

 I also posed a lot in front of the mirror. It really helped me understand form changes when you move an arm or turn your head. Made sculpting a lot easier. Especially with the arms.

Here's a test turnaround with lights in Zbrush to see how he looks like:

In some earlier versions I gave him long hair. Sculpting hair is very time consuming
and I decided not to go ahead with it because I might not finish it on time.

He looks really weird without the beard now.
I tried out some basic three point lighting in Zbrush to see if the forms were looking ok. Especially with the beard. If you think man boobs are hard to sculpt wait till you try sculpting hair. But like everything, if you spend enough time really figuring out stuff it pays off.

Decimated the model after sculpting so I can export it to Maya to do Lighting, Materials
 and Rendering. Here are some early tests with materials and lighting. 

Final lighting, Material and Render.
Check out the HiRes version here:

In the end I spent all two weeks of my holiday working on it. Quite satisfied with the result. A good way to start the year. My friends and I are aiming to do a sculpt every month depending on how much free time we have apart from work and assignments. Hopefully we can be consistent. Their feedback was a big help and most importantly I had a lot of fun doing it :)

I'm looking forward to doing more sculpts this year and I'm really excited about my final project. But I need to manage my time so that I can always spend a few hours every week doing something of my own to put in my portfolio. Happy New Year everyone! May this be a great one :)

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